Pregnancy diabetes affects seven out of every 100 women. This condition usually goes away after childbirth. However, it may cause complications, affecting the mother and her baby. If left untreated, it can lead to premature birth, stillbirth, preeclampsia, and heart disease.
Good nutrition and regular exercise can help prevent diabetes during pregnancy. Ideally, you should choose whole, natural foods and avoid added sugars. Each meal should include lean protein, slow digesting carbs, and heart-healthy fats. Follow these healthy eating tips to prevent gestational diabetes:
Watch Your Calorie Intake
Contrary to popular belief, it’s no need to “eat for two” during pregnancy. Most women only require an additional 200-300 calories a day starting from the third trimester. If you eat more than you need, you’ll end up gaining weight. Additionally, your risk diabetes will increase.
Avoid Empty Calories
Breakfast cereals, soft drinks, packed fruit juices, sweets, and junk food contain empty calories. These foods have little no nutritional value. Loaded with sugar and trans fats, they put you at risk for diabetes, weight gain, high cholesterol, and metabolic disorders.
Eat Lean Protein
Protein helps maintain muscle tissue, boosts immune function, and suppresses hunger. It also keeps your metabolism up and regulates hormone levels. Your diet should include chicken, turkey, eggs, lean beef, fish, nuts, and leafy greens. These foods are a staple in the Paleo diet and support optimal health. Future moms should eat at least 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
Load up on Veggies
Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables. Broccoli, spinach, kale, cabbage, avocado, and celery are rich in fiber and low in carbs. They also contain vital nutrients that support a healthy pregnancy.
Consume Healthy Fats
Monounsaturated fats, such as those found in olive oil, fish, and raw nuts, enhance vitamin absorption and balance your hormone levels. They also promote cardiovascular health and fight inflammation. By adding more fats to your diet, you’ll stay full longer and have more energy. Just make sure you avoid margarine, potato chips, refined vegetable oils, and other sources of trans fats.
Cut Back on Sugar
A high sugar diet is often the culprit behind diabetes, insulin resistance, and obesity. Also referred to as the white poison, sugar causes addition and adds empty calories to your diet. The best way to avoid it is to read food labels carefully. Watch out for hidden sugars, such as agave, caramel, high fructose corn syrup, glucose, dextrose, treacle, maltose, and rice syrup. If you have a sweet tooth, eat fruit or make your own sweets using stevia, goji berries, vanilla, and other healthy sugar substitutes.